Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lentils, Quinoa & Smoked Trout Salad (a.k.a. Pantry-Fridge Forage Salad)

Do you remember "Door Knock Dinners" that was on The Food Network many years ago? in the show, Host Gordon Elliot would take a chef to a house where they had to cook dinner for the family using only ingredients and food that was already in their home. My favorite episode was the one where he took Iron Chef Japan's Morimoto and Michiba to a "regular" American house and they had to cook dinner. They seemed just a bit confused with some of the packaged ingredients, using an American microwave, etc. and ended up with fishsticks and sliced American cheese in a fritata among other things. Good fun!

Anyway... I have not been in the mood to go the grocery store for about a week now and fresh ingredients and ideas are getting a bit low so I decided to make my own Door Knock Dinners-style dish by foraging ingredients from my cupboards, fridge and freezer. I was craving some sort of grain based salad and lentils--what I found in exploring my kitchen were some added ingredients to make it a bit more exciting. A little time spent kitchen-foraging resulted in this healthy, colorful and tasty Lentils, Quinoa & Smoked Trout Salad.

Lentils, Quinoa & Smoked Trout Salad
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 4-5 good-sized servings of salad)

From the Cupboard:
  • 1 (15 oz) can of organic brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup of regular bulk bin quinoa and 1/2 cup of red bulk bin quinoa mixed
  • a can of Trader Joe's Smoked Trout in Olive Oil
From the Fridge/Freezer:
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • small amount of flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup of shelled pistachios
  • Bonus Find--a sad looking large pomegranate that has been in the veggie drawer forever. About 2/3 of it was still good. ;-)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp grainy Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
To make: Cook the quinoa in chicken stock about 12 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile chop veggies, drain and rinse lentils, prepare pomegranate seeds and toast nuts if desired. Combine with cooled in quinoa in a large bowl and gently toss with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with several large pieces of smoked trout.

Notes/Results: Satisfying and really good--the combination of savory, sweet, and tangy flavors works well and hit the spot for my craving. There is a good crunchy texture with the thinly sliced carrots and celery with the quinoa. Of course you can swap out ingredients with whatever you have on hand; instead of smoked trout -- salmon, tuna, tofu or hard boiled egg or leave it plain, for the pomegranate--apple, grapes, pear or citrus would work, etc. For about 20 minutes time and a little chopping and mixing, this was a simple and delicious dish that I would make again.

What have you foraged out of your kitchen lately?


  1. I used everything out of my fridge for fried rice recently, great way to use up stuff :)

  2. If those guys went to a typical American household in this day and age, they'd probably just find cheetos and McD's wrappers. Your pantry was, I'm sure, much well stocked! This sounds like a great salad!

  3. Looks great! I've been doing some pantry foraging too since our move... it's amazing what you can find and toss together.

    Keep safe :)

  4. Nicely done Deb! I remember that show and on occasion have done my own version. Nothing as exciting as your though... I would be a happy girl if someone place a plate of this in front of me!

  5. You need to do this more often!!

  6. This looks both delicious and really healthy. I think I should try to do this too!

  7. I just picked up some quinoa for the first time to try my hand at it - this recipe looks delish!

  8. What a great pantry dish! I don't think I've had smoked trout before. I'd likely swap it for some nice albacore tuna, but I'll definitely keep my eye out for the trout. I bet the smoked flavor adds a lot to the dish.


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